Above is the link to the NBC TV Show “Who Do You Think You Are” Reba McEntire episode. For those that have never watched the TV show, the premise involves celebrities researching their family tree to learn more about where their ancestors come from. It’s interesting how little each person knows about their great grandparents but that is my topic for Part 2 of this two part blog series. What intrigued me for Part 1 is that Reba’s family tree involves a great great great (I’m not exactly sure how many greats) grandfather George Brasfield who came over as an 8 year old child to the Americas in 1698 with an 11 year old contract to serve as an indentured servant.
Indentured servitude was basically slavery for a set amount of time, usually 3 to 7 years, in exchange for credit to pay for things like a room and board, clothing, and things like a voyage across the Atlantic. So basically, George was a poor boy with little prospects in Liverpool so his father allowed him to go over on a ship and work off the price of the voyage for the next 11 years of his life.
This should highlight the fact that generations before us had it tough – really tough. So tough that our forefathers decided to guarantee every citizen’s right to bankruptcy by writing into our US Constitution themselves. They also outlawed things like debtor’s prisons. They knew the horrible effects of debtor’s prisons and indentured servitude on people’s lives and the economy when people weren’t allowed to de-leverage burdensome debt.
So as horrible as creditors can be when they slash your credit limits and hike up your interest rates to 30% when you need it least, we at least have a right to debt settlement to reboot our lives. Our forefathers knew it was better to de-leverage so don’t be an indentured servant to your credit card bills.